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Prepare before heading off

RACQ technical and safety policy manager Steve Spalding has called on people travelling these holidays to take the time to prepare their trip to ensure they arrive safely.

The Christmas holidays are the busiest time on Queensland's roads and Mr Spalding said there was never a greater time to make safety a priority.

"Too many people try to push through long holiday drives to arrive at their destination as quickly as possible," he said.

"People should realise that driving is part of the journey and part of their break.

"Just as you plan for you holiday you should also plan accordingly for the drive."

Mr Spalding said motorists should plan well in advance for bad weather, where stops were going to be made and to make sure vehicles were serviced before departure.

"One of the biggest distractions when driving can be kids," he said.

"Be aware that children do need more breaks when travelling long distances so take some time to let them stretch their legs and this can help ensure everyone arrives at their holiday destination safely."
 

FAST FACTS:

Holiday Motoring tips:

Planning the trip:

  • Plan the route and where the rest stops will be - allow plenty of time to complete the journey
  • Take adequate rest breaks, at least a 15 minute break every two hours
  • Make sure everyone uses their seat belts, particularly check young children are restrained properly
  • Consider how best to keep children occupied to minimise risks of driver distraction
  • Share the driving
  • Watch for signs of fatigue - feeling drowsy, lack of concentration, driving mistakes
  • Plan for breakdowns, if you notice a problem, don't keep driving but pull over into a safe spot and call for assistance

Car preparation:

  • Check all lights are working properly
  • Check windscreen is clean and not chipped, scratched or cracked
  • Check windscreen wipers and washers are working
  • Check tyres are in good order, inflate to correct pressure and don't forget the spare
  • Check engine oil and coolant are topped up to the correct level
  • Refer to the handbook for more information

Caravan or trailers

  • Ensure all planned maintenance is up to date before setting off - particularly tyre condition, tyre pressures, wheel bearings and lights
  • Check the coupling for condition and operation, don't forget the safety chain and wiring socket
  • Load the trailer or caravan evenly and within its weight limits (including the towing vehicle's towing weight limit and tow-ball load)
  • Securely tie down any trailer load and periodically check it for movement
  • Make sure the spare tyre is inflated and in good order
  • Allow extra time for travelling and provide opportunities where possible for faster travelling vehicles to safely overtake

Motorcycles

  • Ensure all maintenance is up to date
  • Carry out a pre-ride safety check including lights, engine oil level, clutch and brake fluid
  • Remember to check tyre condition and pressures before heading off, always check tyre pressures when cold. Consider carrying a temporary tyre repair kit
  • Ensure the chain is correctly adjusted and lubricated with a purpose chain grease
  • Plan the trip with adequate rest breaks and fuel stops remembering some motorcycles may only have a range of 250Km or so depending on their fuel capacity
  • Pay special attention for the signs of fatigue, wind buffeting on the highway can be tiring as can an uncomfortable riding position over time
  • Secure luggage making sure not to overload the motorcycle thereby making it unstable
  • Wear protective riding gear, even if the weather is hot
     

Topics:  drive to stay alive 2011



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